Thursday, January 28, 2016

Settlements with Insurance Take Time

These cases, off the top of my head, is why I do not accept early offers:

Initial Offer:                       ---> Final result

Offer  $1,000 plus medical bills           ---> Settled for $27,500

Offer $20,000                --->  Settled $85,000

Offer  $0.00           ---->  Verdict $200,000

Offer $400            ----> Settled $44,000

Offer $20,000          ----> Mediated to $200,000

Offer $100,000      ----> Resolved at $850,000

While each case is different and prior results do not guarantee any future results, you will never convince me that the first offer is the best or that attorneys don't make a difference

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Shelby County, Tennessee Jury Verdicts in 2015

Shelby County Verdicts 2015

We are all inundated by often-tacky lawyer commercials anytime we watch television or listen to radio. Legal ads now are topping taxis, smiling down from billboards and are spilling down the side of buses.

One would think that the Shelby County courthouse is just handing out free money to claimants and their well-dressed attorneys. But is the perception of “jackpot justice” a reality?

How about a test?

1. How many $100,000.00+ jury verdicts in car accidents do you think there are each year in Shelby County?
a. 6-10
b. 11-15
c. 16-20
d. 21 or more
e. None of the Above.
In mid to late 2015, for instance, reported cases I reviewed from Shelby County revealed zero (0) jury verdicts in car accident cases higher than $75,000.

2. How many jury verdicts for the patient in medical malpractice do you think there are each year in Shelby County?
f. 6-10
g. 11-15
h. 16-20
i. 21 or more
j. None of the Above.
In mid to late 2015, reported cases I reviewed from Shelby County revealed zero (0) jury verdicts for the Plaintiff. Doctors won two outright and a mistrial was caused by a hung jury on the third.

Granted, there are significant out-of-court settlements that are not reported. I personally had several larger cases in the $100,000- $900,000 category in 2015 that are not listed anywhere.  But it is worth pointing out that the system seems to be geared towards resolving cases short of trial more often than not. And when trial is had, more often than not the defendants have picked a case to oppose that has shortcomings they maybe able to exploit for a lower verdict.

Juries are not as loose with the pocketbook as you might have thought. Notice, however, the large drop in litigation and verdicts has not reduced our insurance premiums one little bit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Nine Safest Cars

Every year the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety tracks driver fatalities in various car models. Shockingly, no driver was killed in a crash in a record nine (9) 2011 model-year vehicles!
The death rate for drivers of these cars is 0%:
Audi A4 4WD
Honda Odyssey Minivan
Kia Sorento 2WD
Lexus RX 350 4WD
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD
Subaru Legacy 4WD
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD
Toyota Sequoia 4WD
Volvo XC90 4WD
But the worst vehicles had death rates of 46 or more per million miles. The Kia Rio, which had an overall death rate of 149, was the most deadly in this study.
IIHS has changed their crash testing to be more realistic. Most car accidents are not full on types where a car hit a wall squarely. Those spread the energy of the impact out much better, and people survive them more frequently.
However, in the newer so-called “offset crashes” the car hits a pole or a vehicle at an angle, concentrating the forces in a smaller area.  Car manufacturers like Toyota, Honda and Volvo have clearly stepped up to meet that challenge.
Deaths are falling across the board. For 2011 models, for example, there were 28 driver deaths per million miles, a huge decrease from 48 in 2008-2009 models.
With car safety increasing like this, it may be that accident lawyers may one day be out of work!

Monday, January 25, 2016


The Swedish engineers at Volvo now claim that their formerly “boxy-but-safe” automobiles will soon be death proof!
By 2020, they claim, no one will again suffer a fatality or even be seriously injured one of their new Volvo vehicles!
Fatality-free vehicles are not unprecedented. In fact, some already exist, and they're not just Volvos. According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are nine (9) vehicle models in which no one in the United States has died in at least four years.
Much of that is safety related technology like seat belts, air bags and antilock brakes.  A martial artist will tell you, no one is hurt in a fight that is avoided. Likewise, crash avoidance is the order of the day.
Most of the technology that's required for autonomous driving is already available from Volvo and other carmakers. These are newer technologies that they promise will, essentially, make it “crash-proof.”
Pedestrian and large animal protections: Night vision cameras alert the driver to the drunk in the road, or the suicidal deer. In some models, the car will apply the brakes if you do not.
Adaptive Cruise: Adaptive cruise control is basically distance-sensing radar that allows you to program a speed that is then safely maintained by the car itself. The system does not allow you to run up on the vehicle ahead of you. There are some systems that work the same way even without the cruise engaged.
Lane Departure: The car with this system can see lane lines and road edges. Your seat vibrates to warn you to correct before you run off the road. Newer models actually steer back independently. (This feature frightens me a bit).
Autonomous Cars: Many makers, including Volvo, have announced fully autonomous cars will be in showrooms by 2020. These can be summoned by a phone to come to you and pick you up. No driver will be needed.
Those born today may the last generation to experience the following:
1.              Getting a driver license.
2.              Driving a stick shift.
3.              Riding a bus to school driven by a person.
4.              Traffic deaths killing several of their friends before age 25.
5.              Having a wreck.
6.              Getting a ticket.
That machines are here to stay. Soon, they will be here to pick you up.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

SECRETS ALONG THE ROAD: Hiding in Plain Sight

BREAKAWAY DEVICES: Hiding in Plain Sight

Signs located along roads and highways are actually designed to fail! This is not some rampant misuse of government funds, or a massive failure of quality control. They are truly supposed to fail, to help keep all of us safer. As an injury lawyer, I see the results of this purposeful engineering in preventing catastrophic injuries in crashes.
In the past, roadside signposts were often giant metal beams sunk in concrete, to make them permanent. Unfortunately, errant cars were sometimes knocked into them with devastating results. It was not unusual to have a car partially split in half as the speeding vehicle was sliced itself on the sturdy signpost like a knife through butter.
Along with improvements in the cars, such as the addition of air bags, breakaway steering columns and crumple zones, highway safety has come a long way.  Breakaway signposts are now standard and required by law in most cases. All sign supports within the clear zone of highways signed at speeds of 50 mph or greater were required to be mounted on breakaway supports or be shielded with a barrier by January 1, 2013, per the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
These work by giving way, usually kicking out like a broken table leg and often allowing the striking vehicle to pass before the sign collapses.
Safe placement, of course, depends on the structure of the sign, the sign height, the type of vehicle impacting the sign, and the breakaway nature of the sign support when it is impacted.
Previously, signs only gave one or two ways. Newer, crashworthy omni-directional bases are designed to meet safety standards regardless of which direction they are struck. They are required when installing signs and other breakaway hardware near roads with two-way traffic and will likely save more lives.
So today, take a look at that sign on the interstate. The base will have a breakaway point. This secret, hidden in plain sight, might save your life one day.  Drive Safely.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016



Many believe that car notes are just a way of life.
It does not have to be. But if you are looking for an easy way, this is not it! But it does work.
If are not badly upside down in your car loan, and you have a lot of payments left, do whatever you can save about $500.00 to $1,000.00 and sell the newer car. This may take a few months. Find a junky old $500.00 to $1,000.00 car. They are out there, but you really have to look. Often, if you let family, friends, relatives and church members know you need a reliable, cheap car, someone may have one you don’t even know about.
If you can pay it off in the next couple years, do so. Either way, if you can have just one month without a car note, take the amount of that note and open an account at a bank that is not too close to you. Do not obtain an ATM card or checks.  Make sure it is out of your way to go there. Then send your monthly note (let’s assume $300.00)  to that bank with a deposit slip each month. It might be helpful to make a payment book just like regular car notes.
In only twelve months, you have put $3,600.00 in the bank. The $750.00 car still has some value.  Maybe you can trade it in for a value of at least $500.00, or sell it to your buddy who you have inspired to start their “life without a car note.”
Take your $4,100.00 and buy a much better car.
For the next year, put your $300.00 in the bank each month just as if your making payments. So you are driving your car payment free, years earlier than you would have been with the loan, and each year or two you can upgrade.
Remember, NO ONE drives a new car. Every titled car is “used.”
And, paid for cars drive better. It’s not easy, but it is worth it.  And, getting in the habit of saving and earning interest, rather than paying it, is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016



As a Christian injury attorney, I see the aftermath of tragic car crashes every week. There are a few common accidents that you can either avoid or mitigate if you know what to do.
Avoid Overcorrection:  We all have heard and felt that sudden rumbling of our wheels running off onto the gravel shoulder. The steering wheel jerks to the right, and what is our instinct? Jerk back to the left with all our might!  This is called “overcorrection.”  Especially with younger drivers, the panicked jerking back to the left will often cause the car to turn sideways and roll or flip, sometimes with roof-crushing results. The fix? Ride it out, and gently ease back onto the pavement. We have been driving on gravel roads for 100 years, so two wheels on it for a few seconds is no need to panic.
Blowout Reaction: The “Boom” and instability of a blowout at speed induces panic in all of us. Remember though, that control of the car is best achieved through steering and not emergency braking.  Like the overcorrection issue before, quick braking or turning can easily cause a fatal rollover. Ride it out to the shoulder as best you can.
Avoid Hydroplaning: When you steer, but nothing happens, you might be on black ice, or hydroplaning. When the water on the road lifts off your steering tires and you lose contact with the pavement it is called “hydroplaning.”  Just ease off the gas and it should let the wheels grip again. If you feel unsure in the rain, consider a tire brand made for better rain disbursement.
Mechanical failures: If your car continues to accelerate uncontrollably, get the car out of gear. In a manual, simply press the clutch to the floor and brake. If you are in an automatic transmission, shift into Neutral (“N”) and brake.  Your engine may be noisy, but your car is easier to replace than you are. Once stopped, you can shut the car off, and shift back into Park.  If you lose brakes, follow the above steps to get the car out of gear, and trying pumping the brakes all you can as you come to a stop.
Sometimes, such as with a high speed brake failure, a car jacking situation or a head on drunk driver in your lane, you may even have to crash on purpose!
Hopefully, this information will never be needed in your home, but if you are teaching kids to drive, please simulate these emergency situations in a safe place. When panic sets in, you only have time for one reaction, so let’s make it the safest one.
Every twelve minutes, someone in our country perishes in a car crash. I help people with the results of accidents caused by others, but maybe this advice will save at least one life.